Louis Armstrong's trumpet part of NY black history display

By MICHAEL GORMLEY, Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - One of Louis Armstrong's trumpets, military patches from the Harlem Hellfighters infantry regiment, and Jim Brown's rushing trophy from Syracuse University are part of a new
black history display in upstate New York.

The exhibit at the Capitol in Albany includes a letter from writer Langston Hughes to W.E.B. DuBois and tributes to black leaders including singer Lena Horne, abolitionist Frederick Douglass, author James Baldwin and NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

All had links to New York, from being native New Yorkers to frequent visitors as artists and political leaders.

"This is an inspiration," said H. Carl McCall, the former state comptroller and state senator who was the 2002 Democratic nominee for governor. McCall said the display should be sent on statewide tour, a suggestion Gov. Andrew Cuomo, standing beside McCall, applauded.

"It captures so much history," said former Gov. David Paterson, the state's first black governor, who also pushed to create a statewide tour of the items. "It's New York history as much as it's black history."

Professor Robert L. Harris Jr., chairman of the Africana Research Center at Cornell University, said the display is a reminder that there are "remaining roadblocks that impede true progress."

"Through the stories we are telling, attendees of this exhibit can plot the trajectory of civil rights accomplishments in our state, from the historical fight against slavery and segregation to contemporary struggles for civil justice," Harris said.

The display is in the Capitol's War Room on the second floor.

Items include:

- The score of the music standard "Stormy Weather" with Lena Horne and Cab Calloway on the cover.

- An 1848 Free Soil Party ribbon from the anti-slavery group.

- An 1818 letter in which a slave owner freed his slaves.

- A 1921 edition of a book, "The Crisis," containing Hughes' first published poem.

- A lieutenant's account with the La Amistad, a slave ship taken over by slaves that became a symbol for abolition in the 19th Century.


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(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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